Review: Like Father

Kelsey Grammer and Kristen Bell in Like Father

Like Father is a heartwarming story about a father and daughter reconnecting 20 years after he abandoned her. It stars Kelsey Grammer and Kristen Bell.

Rachel (Kristen Bell) is always working. On the way down the aisle on her wedding day she’s on the phone with a client. Owen (Jon Foster), her intended, sees the phone and revolts. He just can’t take it anymore. He walks.

Rachel sees her father Harry (Kelsey Grammer) in the crowd at the wedding. She’s surprised. The next night he comes to see her and they get roaring drunk together. That’s how long lost dad and workaholic daughter end up together on what should have been a honeymoon cruise.

Kelsey Grammer and Kristen Bell in Like Father

Even in the middle of the ocean, Rachel can’t stop staring at her phone. When their tablemates hear their story, Rachel and Harry are instantly the most interesting people on the cruise. Everyone around them roots for them to figure out how to talk to each other and how to get along.

Slowly, slowly, with much recrimination and blame, Rachel and Harry get acquainted. They get honest. They reveal some of their secrets. Rachel forgives Harry, even calls him dad. In a symbolic outburst of joy, they win the skip’s karaoke night singing “Come Sail Away.”

But the magic only goes so far. Rachel hears that she earned the promotion she was working toward. The cruise ends and it’s “back to real life.”

Things look hopeless for a lasting father daughter relationship.

But, of course, this is a comedy. A happy ending is mandatory. I won’t tell you how it comes, but it’s enough to bring tears to your eyes.

Other players in Like Father include Brett Gelman, Paul W. Downs, Zach Appelman, Mary Looram, Anthony Laciura, Blaire Brooks, Leonard Ouzts, and Seth Rogen.

This is the first full-length feature film for actor turned director Lauren Miller Rogen. She also wrote the screenplay. As a director, I thought she was great at capturing mood. Most of the film was bright and Caribbean, but Rachel and Harry both contained darker depths.

I read an interesting article about how there aren’t enough films about mothers and daughters. There aren’t enough films about fathers and daughters, either. Especially stories told from a female perspective, like this one.

The psychology of what happens to a young girl abandoned by her father is a rich field to mine. There was just a taste of that in this comedy – Rachel’s attachment to work rather than living the kind of life that required emotion being one example.  Other films I’ve review here that deal with fathers and daughters connecting after a long absence are very few: First Match and The Hero being all I could find.

Have you seen Like Father? Did you find it good?

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4 thoughts on “Review: Like Father”

  1. I agree Like Father was funny yet tugged at my heart with a bit too much reality. Kelsey Grammar, with just his facial expressions, gave us hope that it might be possible for Dad’s to truly feel sorrow and grief for time lost with their daughters.

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